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Four are Faculty Achievement Award Winners for 2016-17 at A-State


Following the achievement awards presentation, winners and university representatives gathered for a photo.  From left are Evelyn Taylor, Provost Lynita Cooksey, LaQuita Saunders, Stacy Walz, Justin Castro, Chancellor Doug Whitlock and Faculty Association President Mike McDaniel.

JONESBORO – The four recipients of the 2016-17 Faculty Achievement awards – in advising, professional service, scholarship and teaching – were announced today during the 39th annual Faculty Honors Convocation.

In addition, 14 faculty members who are retiring this year were recognized for their combined 357 years of service to Arkansas State. Ten additional faculty were recognized for service milestones of 50, 45, 25, 20 and 15 years.

Scholarship: Dr. Justin Castro

Dr. Justin Castro, assistant professor of Latin American history, has been very productive in scholarship over the last year. His publications include peer-reviewed articles and book reviews in the Latin American Research Review, Mexican Studies and The Latin Americanist. His second book, Apostle of Progress: Modesto C. Rolland and the Engineering of Modern Mexico, is forthcoming later this year or in early 2018. He also spoke at multiple national and international forums.  Castro joined the faculty in 2013 after completing his doctoral degree at the University of Oklahoma.

Advising: LaQuita Saunders

Dr. LaQuita Saunders, assistant professor of history and co-director of the Pre-Law Center, advises more than 30 students in the Bachelor of Arts in history program, along with pre-law students from all disciplines on best practices for getting into law school. She also advises academically most vulnerable students through First-Year Experience and Disability Services. Her peers said, "Her good humor, caring attitude and commitment to each student make her successful."  Saunders completed her law degree at UALR, and joined the faculty full-time in 2001.

Teaching:   Evelyn Taylor

Dr. Evelyn Taylor, assistant professor of social work, was recognized for empowering and motivating her students, and for providing a classroom environment in which students are engaged and use critical thinking skills. She assists students with building confidence and helps them apply newly gained knowledge. She taught in the classroom as well as online during the past year. In evaluations, her students often attribute their success to her teaching skills.  Taylor completed her doctoral degree at Northcentral University, and joined A-State's faculty in 2015.

Professional Service: Stacy Walz

Dr. Stacy Walz, assistant professor of clinical laboratory sciences and department chair, was extremely involved in professional service activities this year. She served in various capacities on more than a dozen university, student, state and local community groups. Her peers commented on her ability to maintain "a level of energy, intensity and team spirit that is unmatched," and called her "a formidable asset in both teaching and administrative capacities."  Walz, who completed her doctoral degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, joined the faculty in 2011.

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